Imagine you receive an official-looking email from Instagram. According to the message, you have violated copyright laws and your account will be deleted within 24 hours. But do not worry ! If you think Instagram made a mistake, just click the button and “verify” your account. Then you are redirected to a website that prompts you to enter your Instagram credentials. Most scams would stop there, but not this one!
Immediately, another message appears. This pop-up claims that you also need to verify your email address. You will see a list of email providers. Choose yours, and you’ll be prompted to enter your email address and password. As a finishing touch, the scam site redirects to Instagram’s real website, a trick that “gives the scam extra credibility.”
In this nifty new scam, scammers are getting greedy. Not only are they trying to steal your Instagram password, but they are also phishing for your email login. Follow these tips to spot this tricky scam and protect your passwords.
How to spot these scams:
•Check the “from” email address and link destinations. Hover over any links in an email you receive to see where the link really leads. Suspicious links are one of the main freebies in email scams. Also, make sure the “from” address is from the company it claims to be.
•Understand how companies manage communications. If you know how a company handles disputes and suspicious activity with your account, it will be easier to spot a scam. Will they email you? Call? Send a text message?
• Investigate complaints. Do not act without first checking the claims. Log in to your account or find the company’s official phone number (check your invoice or welcome email) and call them to confirm that there really is a case of suspicious activity associated with your account before deciding what to do.
•Don’t panic or feel intimidated. Scammers want to freak you out. They may use intimidation tactics, such as claiming that your account will be closed in 24 hours, to pressure you into giving up your personal information or making payments. Legit companies won’t bully you that way. Stay calm and think carefully before you act.
For more information, read our tips for spotting scams on E-mail and social networks. Learn more about how to protect yourself against phishing.
If you have been a victim of this scam or a similar scam, report it to BBB Scam Tracker. Your report can help educate other consumers by making them aware of the scammers’ tactics.
Kelvin Collins is President and CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving the Fall Line Corridor, serving 77 counties in East Alabama, West Georgia, Southwest Georgia, Central Georgia, eastern Georgia and western South Carolina. This advice column is provided by the local BBB and the International Association of Better Business Bureaus (IABBB). The Better Business Bureau sets standards for ethical business behavior, monitors compliance, and helps consumers identify reputable businesses. Questions or complaints about a particular business or charity should be directed to the BBB directly at phone: 1-800-763-4222, website: BBB.org or email: [email protected]